So let’s talk about the new PHB. First if you are still playing 1e it’s all there for you:
- Dragonborn (from 3.5e)
- Tiefling (from 4e)
- Barbarian (Added to 1e from Dragon #63)
- Sorcerer (from 3.5e)
- Warlock (from 3.5e)
So, there’s note much added from 1e expect a few of the most popular Races\Classes. As you go thru the book it talks about what rules are optional. The biggest area is all of Chapter 6 is Optional (Multiclassing and Feats). I’m glad that Feats has been rolled back a bit. It always seemed to me add a layer of complexity.
So I’ll give more impressions as I read more, but thinking back to what people were guessing what 5e was going to be about. A lot of folks thought it would be somewhere between 3.5e and 4e. I think it’s more between 1e and 3.5e. In one sentence (which really isn’t total fair to the game): It’s 1e with the best of 3.5e. I don’t see much of 4e at all, but I’ll bet those combat rules will be optional somewhere down the line…
Just a quick update on playing the Starter Set:
- First the adventure in the set is well done. Lots of subplots to do and it really does step by step a DM thru the adventure and the rules.
- I would say the game play right now is closer to 3rd edition. However, it does have a little of a 1st edition feel to it since the rules are boiled down quite a bit.
- I would guess, as more of the rules are added it will feel more like a new 3rd edition, but I’ll bet it will have options to add more of a 4th edition combat feel, if that is what you like.
I know that is a very high level feel, but that’s all we have right now. We will find out more when the Player’s Handbook is released.
So I got a D&D 5e (Next) starter set. What do I think and is it worth it given that you can download the basic rules for 5e for free and the starter set is $20 at your local store.
To start, what do you get with the starter set?
- A starter set rulebook
- A D&D Adventure to run (Lost Mine of Phandelver)
- 5 Characters to play with
- One set of D&D dice (d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, d20)
Here is a video if you need to see this in more detail:
To start let’s compare the Basic Rules with what is given to you in the Starter Set. The Starter Set rules tell you:
- The basics on how to play D&D
- How to fight
- An overview on Adventuring
- How to cast spells
These are basically the 4 chapters in the book and they give you enough info to get your pre-rolled characters to level 5.
The basic rules for free download give you all that, plus how to create your own characters. So for the starter set you are stuck with the pre-rolled characters. The basic rules give you all the details of your character class up to level 20.
As for the Adventure, it’s in 4 parts and per the introduction is enough to get the party from level 1 to 5 by the end of it. It’s fairly long.
So did I get my $20 worth? My answer is ‘What’s your goal in buying this?’
I have two kids. I had a mixed success getting them into 4e, mostly because they and their friends were at a mixed level of maturity. This is going to work great. I can toss them a rulebook that will get them easily into the ‘How to play’. The 5e rules, so far, are much more streamlined than 4e was for combat, but let’s see if that holds as the books come out. The adventure itself looks to be great for a starting DM (if my oldest wants to try) and is big enough that it is worth the $20 bill on it’s own.
However, if you are an experienced gamer and just want to convert your current campaign at some point. You should consider passing. There is not enough here (or out yet). Pick up the Basic rules and get ready for when the 5e Players Handbook and Monster Manual comes out.
This will be more than enough to get my kids (no friends for now) and wife back into D&D for the summer.
So I’ll be picking up the D&D Starter kit for 5e (Next) on July 3rd.
This will be a good starting point for my kids who have interest in D&D and this will get them on the ground floor with the next edition. More soon.
Time for something more fun! Pandemic for the iOS is out!
I talked briefly about the Pandemic board game while talking about it’s Younger cousin Yggdrasil. I’ll repost Tom’s review of the game.
Pandemic is an excellent game, where the players work together against 4 viruses that are spreading across the globe. The players must find cures before the viruses get out of control.
I can’t speak enough of this game. I’ve played the boardgame to death and I still come back for more. Let’s give the good and bad points of this game.
- From top to bottom the interface is well done. I could pick up the game without looking at the instructions. New players are not going to be able to do that, but if you have played the boardgame before you should have no issue.
- Two New Roles have been added:
- Contingency Planner – May take a Event Card that has been played out of the discard pile and set it aside for later use. Does not count against the hand limit and may only have one of these set aside at a time. My thought: Seems a bit over powered.
- Quarantine Specialist – Prevents outbreaks and placement of disease cubes in the person current location and neighboring towns. My thought: Jury is still out for me on this, but an interesting twist.
- Pass and Play Only, no games over the Internet. Really everyone needs to look at the board and work together at the same time. Ansyc play with an open mic would really be nice (the iOS version of Tichu has this feature.)
- The game doesn’t even work with iOS Game Center at all for Achievements, etc. That’s just odd.
- The expansion On the Brink is not included. That would rock as an add on.
Overall, the game is excellent and is worth the $7. Considering the game doesn’t use the internet in any way, I’m guessing that it’s not finished and folks got it out there for the holidays. I would think Online Play will happen in some way in the future and that will only add to the game.
Just a few quick notes:
1) Happy Father’ Day! 🙂
2) I got the Eclipse board game for Father’s Day, so I’ll have a review of that shortly.
3) Here is a good read for father’s day: http://thejamesons.com/cms/?p=57 I would just do a repost, but I’m having issues getting that to work with all the hits that link is getting.
So Eclipse is a game that I don’t own. Tom’s review of it is here:
However, the game has been converted to IPad. Current cost $7. I’ll review that game here. Just to give you the look and feel of the game, check out the intro… Very nicely done:
This is a ‘4x Game’. Which stands for: explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate. The most common of these games, or the one that I’ve spent my time playing, is the classic game Civilization (Civ). Which, BTW, also has an IPad version of the game for the same cost.
Anyway to start, Eclipse has a nice tutorial, but you are going to need a copy of the rulebook. There is just not enough detail in the tutorial and I couldn’t easily find what I needed answered anywhere else. So downloading the boardgame rules helped a lot.
After that you will get the hang of it after a few quick games. It’s similar to ‘Civ’, but very different. Like Civ, you will need to start out exploring and expanding, the number of planets in this case, as you need to build up resources. This will allow you to build and customize (via science) your spaceships. Customizing your ships is by far the coolest part of the game. After that, it’s likely time to pick some fights against the other players which can be costly, so pick your fights well.
The game is a set number of rounds (9) and each round ends when all players agree (pass on their turn). You have that amount of time to get as many Victory Point as possible. You will get them via exploring, discovering science and the combat you were in during the game. Player with the most VPs win.
While combat is a big part of this game, this game has more of a Eurogame feel. Lots of resources to manage and combat on top of it.
If you watch Tom’s video, you will see this is a huge game. I could spend a lot of time talking rules. I think by watching these videos you can get a quick feel if this game is for you. If you like Civilization, you will like this game. There is however a lot more resource management than Civ and less focus on science tracks.
The IPad version is VERY well done from a programming point of view. Once you work thru the rules, and for a game of this size that’s just the nature of the beast, everything is laid out well and game play is quite enjoyable. The IA in the game holds its own so far as I’m learning better tactics before I get off ‘easy mode’.
I’ll leave you with one more video that shows more of the screens. If you would like a heavy 4x game, get this. It is slick app.
One minor strike against it, it really needs to use Game Center to setup online games. I’m still playing around with that feature, but it seems to be email based somehow (at least you need to supply one). I’ll fiddle around with that shortly using my wife’s IPad and mine, see how it works out and post a comment to this post below.
Edit: OK, it can use Game Center to setup Public\Private games but there is also an email option which is why it asks you for an email and password. Odd, but I guess the extra option is nice.